Do different groups look for different things? Influence of place brands on migrant and talent

Authors: Evan Cleave*, University of Western Ontario, Godwin Arku, University of Western Ontario
Topics: Urban Geography, Ethnic Geography
Keywords: place branding, economic development, talent attraction
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/10/2018
Start / End Time: 4:40 PM / 6:20 PM
Room: Evergreen, Sheraton, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Place branding has become an increasingly integral part of local and regional economic
development strategies in the global competition to attract both talent and migrants. A strong and positive place brand can shape perceptions of a place, allowing it to be viewed in a more positive manner. Ultimately, this improved perception may influence any decisions about where the migrants and talent decide to locate. However, place branding efforts adopted by local governments have been criticized for using a ‘one-stop shop’ style of branding, where one place brand is meant to play a role all their local economic development goals. In the case of talent and migrants, it seems unlikely that the two groups would respond positively to the same branding messages and elements. To explore the differences in responses between these two groups, this research applies structural equation modelling to a survey of migrant (n = 453) and talent (n = 1044) from London, Ontario, Canada on five cities in Ontario (Toronto, Ottawa, Hamilton, London, and Waterloo) to model what elements of a place brand influence perception and decision-making. The results of the survey show that the two groups are influenced by different elements of place brands. Brand elements focusing on the local atmosphere and urbanity have greater influence on talent, while migrants are swayed by cultural elements. Interestingly, neither group was influenced by visual identities (logos and slogans). From this study, it is evident that a one-size-fits-all brand is unlikely to influence members of diverse target audiences.

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